“Early paintings, undisciplined, gestural chaos, often included a small red dot as a point of focus. Today nearly thirty years on, bold forms have become The (my) Still Point (Zen Meditation), in both 3 and 2D work.
Akin to traditional calligraphy, my gestural work also includes nuances of imperfections e.g. off center compositions, a bent circle, resulting in explorations of somewhat incompatible yet harmonious, mark making”. —BH 2018
Brenda Heim’s paintings and sculptures follow a long line of freethinking artists that include the New York School Action Painters and the Color Field Painters of the 1950s. By borrowing the Action Painters affinity for spontaneous and unorthodox paint application, with the Color Field Painter’s emphasis on one’s emotional state of mind as expressed through color, Heim has amassed her very own body of work that is flavored with an enchanting absence of the known world.
Heim was born in 1957 in Alliance, Ohio, and currently resides in Umatilla, Florida. Her earliest work from 1979-89 can best be characterized as passive and analytical – a state which would change profoundly from 1989-91 when she experienced first hand, Zen brush painting, psychotherapy and emotional release techniques – new areas of interest that freed her both emotionally and intellectually – body and soul.
Picasso once said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Essentially, this is what happened with Heim. That free thinking, non-prejudiced, eyes wide open approach that most of us last felt as a child took over her stagnant painting process. Heim was moving away from being a non-descript observer/painter to a passionate, bold and impulsive Action Painter like her forbearers. She likes to state it as a feel first, think second methodology that many art lovers will find quite refreshing and honest since so many are concerned only with fame and fortune.
Over the past ten years Heim has moved into the realm of public art turning her meditative, gestural two-dimensional works into three-dimensional steel. This transition, which sometimes occurs with co-creator, sculptor Doug Hays, leaves us with an even greater understanding of Heim’s emphasis when it comes to free and fluid thinking. This ability that Heim has to maintain a high level of freethinking in the designs of her three-dimensional works is important to note because the production of a sculpture, especially one that is fabricated in steel, requires a lot more planning than a painting.
Beginning in 2012, Heim explored a series of two-dimensional works collectively titled “Broken Circle” opening up an even greater path to her emotional and spiritual wholeness. By placing the color orange alongside fragments of circles, and painting with her non-dominant hand, Heim produced an unusual and unfamiliar rhythm of markings, mixtures and movements.
Also at this time, Heim made one very pivotal technical leap mastering a combination of wet-on-wet Sumi ink and acrylic paint-layering combinations. This new technique, as with the previously used approaches, worked perfectly with her quest to maintain spontaneous creativity without analytical bias based on predetermined aesthetics.
In addition to working with mops and industrial sized brushes Heim continues to make her own painting tools, opening up even more options in her highly sensitive and contemplative iconography. In some instances, hints of architectural forms come into play as Heim makes increasingly larger and more powerful works.
Heim has exhibited her art for a number of years in such institutions as Naples Museum of Art in Naples, FL, Coburn Gallery at Ashland University, Ohio, Lake Eustis Museum of Art in Eustis, FL, Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, FL, Tensho Gallery in Vancouver, B.C., and Addison Gallery, in Boca Raton, FL.